By Jocelyn Langer and Suzy Konecky
Perhaps because we are still happily basking in our accomplishment of shifting 45 years of much-loved NOFA Summer Conference tradition to an online platform with 4 months’ notice, our team is approaching this year’s fall fundraising plans with a sense of optimism and creative collaboration.
In a typical season, NOFA/Mass would kick off the year-end fundraising with our annual Run/Walk fundraising campaign. Each fall staff, board members, and friends normally gather pledges and then meet up in Lexington, MA to walk or run a 5k or 10k course. We typically raise $20,000 from this event, but with large public gatherings out of the question this year, our development team had to come up with an alternative way to raise this crucial part of the budget.
After weeks of brainstorming and refining our ideas, we are thrilled to announce this year’s fall fundraising event: the Climate Action Challenge. Don’t worry, you can still choose to run or walk as part of your challenge, but this year’s event will include a wider and more farm-oriented range of options. Each participant will partake in the event from the comfort of their own home or farm and will choose topics from one of the following categories: Farming & Gardening; Organic Food Policy; Physical or Lifestyle Challenges; or Organic Consumer Choices.
Farmers or gardeners may choose to implement a new practice on their farm such as mulching or planting cover crops, while consumers may decide to increase their diet to 25% local, organic products for a month, and activists might write letters to policy makers on the Healthy Soils Bill or Pollinator Protection Act. For those who are still seeking a physical challenge, we suggest an activity that will help play a part in mitigating climate change, such as commuting by bike instead of driving. With a wide variety of objectives to choose from, we believe that this year’s Climate Action Challenge will give each participant an exciting goal, and inspire sponsors to support both NOFA/Mass and the planet.
This year’s Climate Action Challenge will span the month of October, with plenty of time to inspire donors to share in the fun and give generously. To participate in the Climate Action Challenge, email Christy@nofamass.org. Our next giving opportunity will be our annual fall appeal letter, which will go out in early November. Our goal this year is to raise $155,000 in individual donations by the end of the year. We encourage donors to give a year-end donation at any point, and we will also participate in Giving Tuesday on December 1st, joining forces with hundreds of organizations worldwide who set aside this day each year to collectively remind supporters of the power of charitable giving.
As a nonprofit, individual donations make up about 20% of our annual budget. This support is crucial in a normal year, but even more important as we work to come up with new ways to meet our funding needs without the many face-to-face events that we normally rely on. In addition to bringing in generous donations, we hope that our focus on climate action in this year’s fall fundraising challenge will create opportunities for us to educate participants on new ways that they can take action in their daily lives, and provide a community of support to inspire change.
NOFA/Mass works hard each year to have an impact on climate change through our active participation in local policy, our workshops and conferences that educate farmers and gardeners on regenerative food production, and our digital media including podcasts and webinars that feature interviews with experts. We hope that our larger community will be inspired to join us through small actions in their daily lives throughout the month of October, and through donations large and small throughout the giving season.